A federal judge has denied a Penn State motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by two former assistant football coaches.
Judge Lawrence Stengel, of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania filed an order Tuesday denying the university’s request, calling it moot.
In September, Penn State asked the court to dismiss the suit in which Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney are seeking $1 million in damages. They claim university decisions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal negatively affected their careers.
Paterno was the quarterbacks coach under his father, longtime head coach Joe Paterno. Kenney coached tight ends and offensive tackles. Kenney is now an assistant coach at Western Michigan University.
Stengel noted on his order that the denial of Penn State’s motion was due to the fact that Paterno and Kenney filed an amended version of their complaint. That document was submitted Nov. 24.
That amended complaint is an important part of why Penn State says the judge’s order is not a victory for the plaintiffs but just part of the process.
“As is often the practice in federal court, plaintiffs Paterno and Kenney elected to amend their complaint in an attempt to cure some of the defects raised by the (u)niversity’s motion, rather than face a decision on the motion to dismiss,” university spokesman Dave LaTorre said in an email. “As a result, the motion to dismiss was rendered moot because plaintiffs modified their claims. The court’s December 2, 2014 order reflects that the motion is now moot, and did not substantively rule against Penn State on the motion. Penn State will file a response to the amended complaint in due course.”
On Wednesday, Stengel signed another order, granting a extension of time for the university to answer that amended complaint. Attorneys for both sides agreed on the extension, which was requested on Nov. 24.
Stengel’s order gives Penn State until Jan. 7 to respond to Paterno and Kenney’s new complaint.